Madeline Connelly, 23, stopped in Montana to visit her uncle on the way to a new job in Alaska and decided to hit the Great Bear Wilderness near Glacier National Park for a hike. Her dog, Mogi, was in tow. And then they were gone.
After nearly a week of arduous land and air searches by rescuers, Connelly and her dog have been found.
“She was very happy that her adventure was finally over,” Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry told PEOPLE.
Per ABC Fox Montana, Connelly told reporters that she’d run out of water for Mogi during the planned day hike. The pair stopped at a lake to swim and hydrate, then, she believes, took a wrong turn.
“After the first night I realized I was in the wrong place,” Connelly said. “But I thought if I kept going, I’d be by the same loop of a trail and I would get out and then I ended up at a lake and I was like ‘this is not right.’ ”
She estimated that they hiked about 10 miles a day in their search for familiar territory.
When Connelly didn’t return, family members found her car at the trailhead. Then the search was on. Rescue workers used horses to navigate the difficult and isolated terrain, as well as search dogs and infrared cameras. There was concern when bear tracks were discovered over what were believed to be her footprints but the Sheriff’s Department said there was no evidence that she’d encountered a bear while lost in the wilderness.
Connelly, by the way, is no slouch. She reportedly offered to hike out with the rescue crews once found, but they insisted that she take a helicopter, according to ABC Fox Montana